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6/7/2010 | 5 MINUTE READ

Injection Molding at NPE 2003

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Show goers will see an electric injection machine in nearly every press maker’s booth this year, and electric/hydraulic hybrids in several.

Show goers will see an electric injection machine in nearly every press maker’s booth this year, and electric/hydraulic hybrids in several. Among the many all-electric debuts are the Eljex NEX line from Nissei, Elma line from Negri Bossi, MDS IV series from Niigata, SR vertical-clamp series from Sumitomo, ECN series from Toshiba, MEt line from Mitsubishi/MHI, LGE line from LG International (a new player in all-electrics), the E-jet disk-molding press from Netstal (its first U.S. showing), and a 750-tonner from Toyo that is the largest machine yet from that supplier—either hydraulic or electric. Other new all-electrics come from Asian Plastics Machinery and Haitian Machinery.

Toshiba’s new ECN series deserves mention because it uses ultra-high-speed linear servo motors for faster injection with high positioning accuracy. Up to now, linear servos have appeared only on certain Milacron Fanuc models.

Hybrid presses, said to offer the best qualities of electric servos and hydraulics without their disadvantages, are also coming into their own. The most intriguing hybrids are those that marry electric and hydraulic technologies in the clamp mechanism. Meiki, Mitsubishi/MHI, and Sodick will show new two-platen, hydromechanical-style hybrid clamps, and Demag Plastics Group will show its El-Exis S, which uses a servo-driven pump to operate a toggle. A brand-new alternative will be introduced by Dima of Korea: Its Hytoggle press uses an electric-driven toggle clamp for mold open/close and a two-platen hydraulic system for clamp-up. Meanwhile, new hybrids that utilize electric drive only on the screw will be introduced by Arburg (Advance Series) and Sandretto (ESD Series).

A ready-made package for converting a standard ma chine’s injection unit to a more energy-efficient hybrid will debut from Moog Inc. Its PowerShot system is a sealed servo-hydraulic package driven by two electric servo motors. It comes with its own controls and just needs to be attached to the screw shaft and barrel, plus electrical and water connections.


Speedier hydraulics

Speed is king for some new hydraulic machine entries at the show. Nissei will show its new FN AN1 series of high-speed, energy-efficient, fully hydraulic presses, which use multiple variable-volume pumps but need no accumulator or shut-off nozzle. Sandretto’s new Mach3 line is a high-speed, accumulator-assisted series for closures and packaging. 

Meanwhile, Ube is emphasizing a combination of lower cost, wide platens, and larger tiebar spacing for its new Ultima UN hydraulic series from 500 to 1500 tons.

The show also gives North American molders a look at the hydraulic and hybrid machine styles of several Asian OEMs that don’t have broad exposure here. They include Asian Plastic Machinery, Chen Hsong, Chuan Lih Fa, Dima, Fu Chun Shin, Haitian, Jinhwa, Lien Fa, L.K. Machinery, Year Chance, and Yuh Dak. Other less-familiar nameplates include Himaco of Brazil and Dassett of the U.K.


Special-purpose presses

A host of specialized molding applications will get attention at the show:

  • Insert molding: New vertical presses (some of them all-electric) will be highlighted by Autojectors, Boy, Gluco, Haitian, Mini-Jector, Niigata, Nissei, and Sumitomo. Others emphasizing vertical clamps are Battenfeld, Engel, Illinois Precision, Maplan, MIR, and Yuh Dak of Taiwan. Robot supplier SAS Automation is introducing rotary tables for insert molding.
  • Meanwhile, HPM has a new horizontal solution for insert molding—its Freedom rotator WP series of two-platen hydromechanical presses with a rotating movable platen.
  • Micromolding: As the parts get smaller, the field of available machinery gets bigger. Look for “micro” exhibits by Arburg, Battenfeld, Excel Plas, Hull/Finmac, Nissei, Sumitomo, and Toshiba.
  • Multi-component: The ever-growing popularity of multi-shot and coinjection systems will be reflected in the displays of Battenfeld, Demag Plastics Group, Engel, Kortec, Krauss-Maffei, MGS Manufacturing, Plasdan, Plastic Metal, Presma, and Spirex. The latter will demonstrate the new Twinshot technology for two-component sandwich molding with a single barrel on a conventional machine.
  • uLSR/LIM: Liquid silicone molding shows up at A.L.B.A. Enterprises, Arburg, Boy Machines, Engel, Fluid Automation, Hull/Finmac, , MIR, and Toshiba.
  • PET preforms: Both injection and blow molders will want to take a look at what Anker, Fu Chun Shin, Kortec, Lien Fa, and MIR have to offer.
  • Structural foam: The lone example at the show is the new low-pressure Lumina E press from Wilmington Machinery, which is also designed for gas-assist injection.


What’s hot in hot runners

At least 33 makers of hot-runner components and systems will show their wares at NPE. Valve gates will be a particular focus for many of them—especially valve gates that offer improved durability and easier servicing. Look for valve gates to be emphasized by D-M-E, Ewikon, Fast Heat, Gunther, J Tech, Melt Design, MHS, Mold-Masters, Polyshot, Synventive, and Yudo, among others.

There will also be new examples of what one supplier calls “thermal valve gates”—nozzles that have independent tip heaters that can quickly open up or freeze off the tip as needed. This approach was pioneered by Seiki Spear but similar concepts are appearing from Duratherm and Plasthing.

Easy installation of “bolt-on” or “drop-in” hot halves that are pre-wired and pre-assembled is another theme at the show. Examples will be featured by Heatlock, Incoe, and MHS.

Speedy delivery has been emphasized by a number of suppliers lately. Husky, for one, will be talking about expansion of its Pronto hot-runner program.
In hot-runner controls, two suppliers will be showing boxes that mount directly on the mold. You’ll find them at American MSI and PCS (showing Caco’s IPM system).

An interesting new twist comes from HRSflow Hotrunner Technology, whose Fail-Safe system for nozzles and manifolds includes a redundant set of heaters and thermocouples to keep things running in case a component malfunctions.


Robot roundup

More than 30 suppliers will be showing robots and end-of-arm tooling components. New models designed to offer speed and accuracy at lower cost will be especially plentiful. Models that combine an overhead linear traverse with a jointed arm will be shown by Fanuc and Ventax. Applications of robots for in-mold decorating or labeling will be demonstrated by MGS and Hekuma. Star Automation’s new “mold-tracking” software can shift the robot’s position settings to compensate for mold drift. Yushin will demonstrate the merits of putting internet access into robot controls for retrieving set-ups, production notes for a job, or maintenance information.


Process prowess

Demonstrations of special process technologies are bound to attract many show visitors. Gas-assist technology will be featured by Alliance Gas Systems, Arburg, Bauer Plastics Technology, Cinpres Gas Injection, Dima, Epcon Gas Systems, Fu Chun Shin, Gain Technologies, and Plastic Metal. The newer approach of water injection will be an attraction at the booths of Cinpres Gas Injection, Engel, and Krauss-Maffei.

Trexel’s MuCell process for microcellular molding will appear at that firm’s booth and at JSW’s.

The proprietary X-Melt process for super-fast injection without an accumulator has been in development by Engel for two years and is being shown here for the first time. It involves pre-compressing the melt behind a shutoff nozzle and then letting the melt “explode” into the mold when the valve is opened.

Machine vision for mold protection and parts inspection will be on stage at four booths: Automation Vision Technology, Avalon Vision Solutions, Comet Automation, and Excel Plas.

Two new players will enter the scene for magnetic mold-clamping systems. EAS will roll out its new magnetic clamp system that withstands the higher temperatures of thermoset molding by using AlNiCo instead of neodymium. Meanwhile, Hilma Div. of Carr Lane Roemheld will unveil is System 130 magnetic clamp system.